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Bettencourt performing in 2008
|Birth name||Nuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt|
|Born||September 20, 1966|
Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal
|Genres||Glam metal, hard rock, funk metal, heavy metal, alternative rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, bass, keyboards, piano, organ, cello, drums|
|Associated acts||Generation Axe, Extreme, The Satellite Party, DramaGods Population 1, Mourning Widows, Rihanna, Steel Panther, Guitar Wars, Dweezil Zappa, Alter Bridge, Luís Gil Bettencourt, Janet Jackson, Nickelback, Steven Tyler|
Nuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt (born September 20, 1966) is a Portuguese-American guitarist, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He became known as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme. He has also recorded a solo album as well as having founded bands including Mourning Widows, Population 1, DramaGods, and The Satellite Party. In 2007, he also reunited with Extreme to record new music and tour.
Bettencourt was born on September 20, 1966 in Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal, to Ezequiel Mendes Bettencourt and wife Aureolina da Cunha Gil de Ávila. When he was four years old, his family, including brothers Luís and Roberto, moved to Hudson, Massachusetts. Initially, Bettencourt had little interest in music, wanting to become an actor and preferring to spend his time playing hockey and football. His first instrument was the drums and he played them exclusively until his brother, Luís, started teaching him the guitar. While Bettencourt was slow to adopt the instrument under his brother's tutelage, his skills quickly developed when he began teaching himself, and he has mentioned in many interviews that he would skip many school days to practice upwards of seven hours a day. In his sophomore and junior years of high school, Bettencourt dropped out of sports so he could focus on playing guitar. He eventually dropped out of high school altogether, for the same reason.
As a guitarist, one of Bettencourt's earliest influences was Eddie Van Halen. However, as he developed his craft as a guitarist and a songwriter, his influences expanded to embrace the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Queen (Brian May), Ronni Le Tekro (TNT), Pat Travers, Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola and Kayak.
Unable to make a dent in the music world with his Boston-based hair metal act Sinful, Bettencourt rose to international prominence as a guitar player after he joined the Boston-area group Extreme in 1985. Signed to A&M Records shortly after Bettencourt joined the group, the band released its debut record, Extreme, in 1989. He then provided rhythm guitar on the single version of Janet Jackson's "Black Cat," which became a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1990, Extreme released their most critically acclaimed album, Pornograffitti, which included the hits "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted". The album also has one of Bettencourt's most impressive guitar solos to date, The "Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee"—an interpretation of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee"—as the intro guitar solo to the track "He-Man Woman Hater". Pornograffitti garnered admiration for Bettencourt from rock guitar enthusiasts. He was voted "Best New Talent" in a 1991 readers' poll by Guitar World magazine, and that magazine later named him "Most Valuable Player" of 1991.
The band followed up with III Sides to Every Story in 1992. Bettencourt composed and arranged the brass and string sections, and full orchestra for this album. In 1995, Extreme released the album Waiting for the Punchline, but the band broke up in 1996 when Bettencourt expressed his desire to follow a solo career. Shortly afterward, singer Gary Cherone became the lead singer of Van Halen.
Hiatus from Extreme
In 1997, Bettencourt released his first solo effort, Schizophonic, which he had been working on for five years. The album was well-received critically, but was not a commercial success.
On December 16, 1997, Bettencourt's new band Mourning Widows (whose name was inspired by writing he had seen on a church wall in Portugal) released their self-titled debut album in Japan on Polydor Records. It sold 45,000 in the first month. The band featured his brother Roberto Carlos's son Donovan Bettencourt on bass and New York drummer Jeff Consi. In 2000, Mourning Widow's follow-up, Furnished Souls for Rent originally released in Japan, and then in the U.S. Both Mourning Widows releases cultivated a strong following in Japan and New England.
Bettencourt formed the recording entity Population 1 and released the self-titled and self-produced 2002 release, Population 1, on Universal/Japan and YBM/Korea. In 2004, Population 1 released Sessions from Room Four. Due to legal issues, the band was renamed to Near Death Experience in 2005. The band was then renamed DramaGods. DramaGods released its first album in December 2005 as an import; it was made available as a digital download in 2006.
Bettencourt's playing has been featured at 2004 on the Universal/Japan CD and DVD release of Guitar Wars featuring solo and collective performances of Bettencourt with many others, including Steve Hackett (Genesis, GTR), Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Mr. Big/Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert.
Bettencourt was the lead guitarist for Satellite Party, which is a band formed by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell's. Bettencourt played with the band at the 2005 Lollapalooza festival. Bettencourt helped produce Ultra Payloaded, the debut album by Satellite Party released on May 29, 2007 on Columbia Records. In late July 2007, Bettencourt departed Satellite Party due to concerns about the direction of the band's live show.
Return to Extreme
In 2008, Bettencourt was featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture Smart People. Bettencourt is credited on the cover on the soundtrack as well. The soundtrack also features the Gary Cherone track, "Need I Say More", and Baby Animals selections. The album was released by Hollywood Records and is available on iTunes. The following year, Bettencourt was featured in a song and video called "Best Night Ever" by Marshall Eriksen, a character on How I Met Your Mother. The video was a parody of Extreme's "More Than Words" video, in which the entire main cast of How I Met Your Mother made appearances.
Work with other artists
In 1991, Bettencourt also produced Dweezil Zappa's release on Barking Pumpkin Records, Confessions. In this record, Bettencourt also sings lead vocals for the first time on a semi-ballad entitled "The Kiss", as well as playing guitar and singing background vocals on some other tracks. Extreme members Gary Cherone and Pat Badger also contributed.
In 1993, Bettencourt co-wrote and produced "Where Are You Going" for the Super Mario Bros. movie. He also joined Robert Palmer in the studio to record Palmer's album Honey. According to former Journey lead singer Steve Perry, Bettencourt has teamed with him to write and arrange songs. He also has writing and recording engagements with Maverick Records' Tantric (Bettencourt co-wrote Tantric's hit single "Hey Now"), Hollywood recording group BB Mak, Toni Braxton, and numerous others.
Bettencourt has also collaborated with singer Suze DeMarchi and with all of her Baby Animals bandmates. On Baby Animals' second release, Shaved and Dangerous, he produced a few songs and co-wrote "Because I Can". He also contributed to the writing, recording, and production of DeMarchi's solo debut from 1999, Telelove. In 1999, Bettencourt produced the album Magnolia, for the Portuguese singer and actress Lúcia Moniz. He also featured as singer and guitarist in the song "Try Again", which was included in Magnolia.
In 2006, Bettencourt along with his band DramaGods contributed their song "S'OK" to the album project Artists for Charity—Guitarists 4 the Kids, produced by Slang Productions to assist World Vision Canada in helping underprivileged kids in need.
In November 2009, Bettencourt announced that he would be touring with Barbadian singer Rihanna on her Last Girl on Earth Tour as lead guitarist, having appeared alongside her in several TV shows and other performances. He has since performed as Rihanna's lead guitarist on every subsequent tour, including her Loud (2010), 777 (2012) and Diamonds World (2013) tours.
In July 2011, Steel Panther reported to Loud magazine that Nuno would be "coming in to do something" on their then-upcoming release Balls Out. The collaboration resulted in the track "It Won't Suck Itself", which also featured Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger.
Loss of materials
- "Nuno Bettencourt | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- "EXTREME Is Working On 17 Songs For Next Studio Album, Says NUNO BETTENCOURT". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. September 11, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- "Guitar World 1991 Readers' Poll" (PDF). Guitar World. 12 (4): 41. April 1991. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "The Year of Guitar: Nuno Bettencourt, M.V.P.". Guitar World. 13 (1). January 1992.
- "Best Night Ever". Itwasthebestnightever.com. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- "The Nuno Bettencourt Network". Rate Your Music.
- "NUNO FACTS and INFO". Nuno Page. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- "Slang Productions – Guitarists 4 the Kids". Slang Productions. September 11, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
- "Steel Panther: More Metal than Manowar". Loudmag.com.au. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
- "Nickelback's Chad Kroeger Guests on New Steel Panther Album". Loudwire.com. October 26, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
- Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "Baby Animals". themusic.com.au. Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- "Not the end: DeMarchi rocks up with the band". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "T.M. Stevens – Africans in the Snow (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Silva, Steve (June 25, 2007). "Music from the Mound". The Boston Globe.